The different stripes are sometimes reckoned to have symbolic meaning:
- red (representing "life")
- orange (representing "healing")
- yellow (representing "sunlight")
- green (representing "nature")
- blue (representing "art")
- purple (or violet; representing "spirit").
The original version also had also a "hot pink" stripe representing "sexuality", and an indigo stripe representing "harmony".
The rainbow flag has given rise to a number of variants for different sections of the LGBT community.
In January 2019 Manchester Pride announced that they would be promoting a variant of the flag with black and brown stripes to symbolise the struggles of queer people of colour. This had a mixed reception.
Progress Pride flag While retaining the common six-stripe rainbow design as a base, the "Progress" variation adds a chevron along the hoist that features black, brown, light blue, pink, and white stripes to bring those communities (marginalized people of color, trans individuals, and those living with HIV/AIDS and those who have been lost) to the forefront; "the arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made."
- "Symbols" (dead link; Archived version from Lambda GLBT Community Services as at may 2014).
- "Should the Pride Flag Be Updated", myGwork. (Archived as at 18 January 2019).
- Trans, QPOC Inclusive Pride Flag Campaign Going Viral newnownext.com.
- This graphic designer has revamped the Pride flag to make it more inclusive PinkNews.
- Will Everyone Feel Included With Artist's New Pride Flag? The Advocate.
- "Progress" A PRIDE Flag Reboot Kickstarter.